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Decision Digest: diversity and inclusion, to attacking pests

Decision digest | Environment and Community Committee

14 November 2017

From diversity and inclusion, to attacking pests – broad focus for today’s committee

Today’s Environment and Community Committee received work programme updates from two of its advisory panels focussed on championing diversity and inclusion in council decision making, and agreed to next steps for the council’s pest management role.

Councillor Alf Filipaina chaired the committee and acknowledged the important role the Pacific Peoples and Rainbow Communities Advisory Panels play.

“Our six demographic advisory panels are now all well-established for this term and, with today’s presentations, have each presented their work plans to this committee.

“The panels play a vital role in voicing the views of our most diverse communities and advising the council on how it engages with them,” he says.

Items 1-8 were administrative and input items. There was no public or local board input.

Item 9: Approval of the Pacific Peoples and Rainbow Communities Advisory Panels' 2017/2018 work programmes

The committee approved the work programmes of the Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel and Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel for the 2017/2018 financial year.

Pacific Peoples panel chair Ralph Elika outlined the panel’s plans for the year which emphasises participation and leadership of Pacific peoples within and outside the council. Mr Elika noted the panel’s priorities for the term also include affordable and quality housing for Pasifika, improvement of the council’s existing community and economic development initiatives for Pacific peoples, and increased civic participation of Pacific peoples.

Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel co-chairs Jules Radford-Poupard and John Kingi presented some highlights from the panel’s first two years and its future work programme.

Ms Radford-Poupard spoke about the work the panel has done with NZ Police around violence towards rainbow communities and its success in including rainbow communities in the council’s discussion and approach to homelessness and affordable and secure housing.

Mr Kingi spoke about the panel’s ‘3 Questions’ campaign approach to receiving feedback and input from rainbow communities, and how this has contributed to the panel’s 2017/18 priorities of a safer Auckland for rainbow communities; affordable and secure housing and rainbow-friendly spaces, events and venues.

Item 10: Adoption of the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan for public consultation

Auckland Council is currently reviewing its 2007 Regional Pest Management Strategy. This is the main statutory document implementing the Biosecurity Act 1993 in the region. It provides a framework for the management of plant, animal and pathogen pests in Auckland.

The review is required to update the council’s approach to pest management and to ensure compliance with the National Policy Direction on Pest Management 2015. It will go out for public consultation with the council’s 2018-2028 Long-term Plan.

“Today’s discussion focussed on process – how we prepare for the renewal of the Regional Pest Management Strategy and how we get feedback from the public on the proposed strategy and its programmes.

“What’s vital is canvassing the public’s support of increased focus on pest management. We are currently only managing to hold the line in a small number of high value sites and council staff have signalled in this report the potential to see significant decline, including risk of species extinctions we don’t increase funding,” says Councillor Filipaina.

The proposal suggests increasing the current Long-term Plan budget of $88.8 million to a potential budget of $307.2 million over ten years. This additional investment will be considered as part of the Long-term Plan 2018-2028 process.

The proposed Regional Pest Management Plan provides for regionally coordinated action aligned to protecting Auckland’s priority ecosystems and threatened species. It also considers primary production and other aspects of economic and cultural wellbeing. The proposed plan represents a substantial increase in investment relative to the current strategy.

The main components of the proposed plan include programmes for managing pests on parks; kauri dieback; managing pest spread to the Hauraki Gulf Islands; on-island control for Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Kawau Islands; possums and freshwater biosecurity.

The committee agreed to initiate the review of the proposed plan and approve it for public consultation.

Item 11: Safeswim Update

Ten days after the launch of the refreshed Safeswim programme, the committee received an update on usage of the new website and the implementation of initiatives, including a range of signs, on beaches. Councillor Filipaina noted the committee’s support of the programme and its successful launch.

“The move from monitoring of beach water quality after rainfall to a real time forecasting approach that uses a wide range of information and modelling tools, and provides water safety information, is innovative and unique to New Zealand.

“It is great to see such high use of the website in just the first week or so. While increased visibility of water quality challenges at our beaches will alarm many Aucklanders, it is vital to reinforce just how important it is to be transparent about these results and give people good information to make decisions before they set out to the beach this summer.

“It is also important to note the value this information provides for the council group’s ongoing water infrastructure investment and improvement programme,” says Councillor Filipaina.

Since the launch of safeswim.org.nz, the website has received more than 7,800 page views from nearly 4,400 unique users. This compares with 13,000 views of the council’s previous Safeswim web page between November 2015 and March 2016, the previous bathing season.

The committee also acknowledged the programme’s partnership between the council, Watercare, Surf Life Saving Northern Region and Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

Item 12: Councillor Wayne Walker report on trip to Taiwan

Councillor Wayne Walker provided the Environment & Community Committee with a presentation on his 12-day trip to Taiwan. His trip (funded by ICLEI, New Taipei City, and some personal funding from Councillor Walker) included presentations to the Climate Change and City Transformation Forum in New Taipei City, and the EcoMobility World Congress in Kaohsiung City.

Councillor Walker also met with the Deputy Mayors of Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Taichung City (a Sister City of Auckland).


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